Bot. Beechey Voy., 154. 1833.
Herbs, perennial, 1.4–6 dm; caudex woody; with a taproot. Stems few to many, erect to ascending, unbranched or branched at proximal nodes, sometimes with short, leafy axillary branches, hairs sparse to dense, spreading, short and long, soft to stiff, unbranched, sometimes branched, eglandular, sometimes stipitate-glandular. Leaves green or purplish, sometimes red-brown, linear or linear-oblong to broadly lanceolate, 2–13 cm, not or ± fleshy, margins wavy or plane, flat or involute, 0–5-lobed, sometimes with small secondary lobes, short, leafy axillary shoots common, usually conspicuous, apex acuminate or acute to rounded; lobes spreading, linear to lanceolate, lateral lobes almost as wide as mid blade, apex acute to rounded. Inflorescences 3–25(–30) × 1.5–5 cm; bracts proximally green or deep purple, distally red, crimson, scarlet, pink, pinkish purple, pinkish red, or yellow, sometimes rose magenta, red-orange, or orange, oblanceolate or obovate to oblong or lanceolate, (0–)3–5(–7)-lobed; lobes spreading to ascending, linear to obovate, long, proximal lobes at or arising below mid length, apices acute to obtuse, center lobe sometimes rounded. Pedicels 0 mm or nearly so. Calyces proximally pale or green, distally as in distal portion of bracts, 14–35 mm; abaxial and adaxial clefts 6–22 mm, 33–50% of calyx length, deeper than laterals, lateral 2–7 mm, 15–25% of calyx length; lobes lanceolate or oblong, apex acute to obtuse or rounded, sometimes curved upward. Corollas straight or ± curved, 17–40 mm; tube 10–15 mm; beak long-exserted to subequal to calyx, adaxially green, 7–20 mm, puberulent, eglandular; abaxial lip deep green to reddish, brown, or deep purple, reduced, inconspicuous, included in calyx, 1.5–3 mm, 15–25% as long as beak; teeth ascending, green, 0.5–2 mm. 2n = 48, 72, 96.
Calif., nw Mexico.
Varieties 3 (3 in the flora).
Castilleja affinis is highly variable and one of the more common paintbrushes at lower elevations in California, west of the Sierra Nevada, from the northern coast south to northern Baja California. Some recent authors (for example, M. Wetherwax et al. 2012) include C. litoralis of the Pacific Northwest coast as a subspecies of C. affinis, but due to the high polyploid nature of C. litoralis and its significantly closer morphological resemblance to C. miniata var. dixonii, that treatment is not followed here. Also see the comments under 62. C. litoralis.
|1||Stem hairs branched; distal portion of bracts usually pink to pinkish purple or pinkish red; coastal San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.||Castilleja affinis var. contentiosa|
|1||Stem hairs unbranched, rarely branched; distal portion of bracts usually bright red, red-orange, crimson, scarlet, or yellow; more widespread in w California.||> 2|
|2||Distal portions of bracts bright red to red-orange, crimson, or scarlet, rarely yellow, orange, rose, magenta, or pinkish red; inflorescences (2.5–)3–5 cm wide; chaparral slopes, openings, open woods, coastal scrub, stabilized dunes; much of w California.||Castilleja affinis var. affinis|
|2||Distal portions of bracts yellow, rarely pink or pale red-orange, often becoming reddish tinted after anthesis; inflorescences 1.5–2.5 cm wide; serpentine substrates; San Francisco Bay region.||Castilleja affinis var. neglecta|